Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 81

January 19, 2024 • 11 min read • 367 views

Each With Their Own Thoughts (2)

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

“Hmm-hmm!”

Lee Shin Chung cleared his throat awkwardly.

In front of him sat Lee Gwak with a calm expression on his face, and around his waist hung the blade he had received from Eun Gwang Ho.

Lee Gwak’s face hadn’t changed since they first met, but Lee Shin Chung was restless.

He couldn’t grasp how to define his relationship with Lee Gwak.

Lee Gwak was merely a martial artist in the outer hall of the Jade Heaven Alliance. Although he was called a leader, he was only at the bottom in the grand scheme of the Jade Heaven Alliance. There was a huge difference in status between them and him.

However, given his martial prowess, he couldn’t be too casual with him.

Eun Gwang Ho had said that Lee Gwak would surely become a great bladesman.

The Eun Gwang Ho he knew was not someone to speak nonsense.

Although Eun Gwang Ho had an eccentric and headstrong personality, no one could match his eye for recognising a martial artist’s realm through his weapon.

‘How high is his martial prowess exactly?’

He tried to gauge Lee Gwak’s internal energy, but nothing caught in his senses.

‘Could he have reached the realm of Origin Reversal?’

If his guess was true, it would be astounding.

When a martial artist reaches a very high level of cultivation, they can appear to be rather ordinary, and this state is called the Origin Reversal

There weren’t many people Lee Gwak’s age who had achieved Origin Reversal.

It was a realm that only a few of the Jianghu’s top talents had reached, let alone an ordinary Outer Hall martial artist.

Lee Shin Chung suddenly felt chills all over his body. Such was the shock of Lee Gwak’s existence.

‘Such a person is just an ordinary martial artist of the Jade Heaven Alliance?’

He cautiously asked Lee Gwak.

“Are you, by any chance, a secret agent of the Jade Heaven Alliance?”

“No.”

“Then, do you have someone who taught you martial arts separately?”

“No.”

“So, you’re saying you learned it all by yourself?”

Lee Shin Chung’s cautious question made Lee Gwak close his eyes.

He had thought that one day his high martial arts skills would be revealed, but he hadn’t expected it to be discovered by the Myriad Merchant Troupe, not the Jade Heaven Alliance.

After organising his thoughts, Lee Gwak finally spoke.

“I learned all my martial arts by myself. My studies are not yet profound and are still insufficient. I am not as great a person as you think I am.”

“If Leader Lee isn’t a great person, then our martial artists at the Golden Sword Pavilion are just like pests eating away money. After all, we’ve spent tens of millions of gold on them.”

Lee Gwak looked embarrassed at Lee Shin Chung’s high praise. He had never received such praise before.

Lee Shin Chung cautiously asked again.

“Have you ever thought about leaving the Jade Heaven Alliance and joining the Myriad Merchant Troupe? If you have such thoughts, we will treat you with the highest respect.”

Lee Gwak was startled by the sudden offer from Lee Shin Chung.

The Myriad Merchant Troupe, of all places.

The place with the greatest wealth in the world.

Moving to the Myriad Merchant Troupe would certainly mean a comfortable life.

Just like the martial artists of the Golden Sword Pavilion, he could receive immense secret techniques and elixirs.

Honestly, if he said his heart wasn’t moved, it would surely be a lie.

At that moment, the image of a man came to Lee Gwak’s mind.

The man who had introduced himself as Go Geom Wol.

Just thinking of him made Lee Gwak’s blood run cold.

Go Geom Wol had told Lee Gwak that they were tied by a string of fate. Lee Gwak didn’t believe this string of fate to be a good one.

How could it be a good relationship when the very thought of him brought a sense of crisis and tension?

It was clear that their fate was entwined in a bad way.

It was more a conviction than a premonition.

Suddenly, such a thought occurred to him.

‘Can I really follow him from the comfort of this place?’

There was already a huge gap that seemed insurmountable, and he doubted he could catch up with a dulled heart and body.

The place I must be in the future is not within the high walls of a secure castle, but in the wild, stormy wilderness.

Lee Gwak’s eyes hardened with determination.

Lee Shin Chung looked at Lee Gwak’s face with hopeful anticipation. But the answer that came out of Lee Gwak’s mouth betrayed his expectations.

“I’m sorry. Although I appreciate your high regard for me, this is not my place.”

“Why not?”

“There is someone I want to pursue. Right now, I don’t even dare to oppose him. To catch up with him, even a little, I plan to endure hardships.

“If you have such a goal, wouldn’t it be better to join the Myriad Merchant Troupe? We’ll support you with secret techniques, elixirs, whatever you want.”

“I’m sorry, Elder Lee!”

Lee Gwak firmly rejected Lee Shin Chung’s offer.

Lee Shin Chung couldn’t understand why Lee Gwak chose the hard way instead of an easier one.

For someone with high aspirations, it made sense to get the best support. In this way, they could reduce the time it takes to reach their goal.

“Hmm!”

A troubled hum escaped Lee Shin Chung’s lips.

He wanted to make Lee Gwak another offer. But when he saw Lee Gwak’s fixed eyes and expression, he realised that no matter what he said, it wouldn’t convince him.

As the chief of the Golden Sword Pavilion, Lee Shin Chung had met countless people. He could tell what kind of person he was just by looking at his eyes.

Lee Gwak’s eyes held strong conviction and steadfastness.

Instead of choosing the easy way out like the cunning people, there was a firmness in him, pushing forward towards what he believed in

‘I underestimated him. He will never join the Myriad Merchant Troupe.’

Lee Shin Chung closed his eyes momentarily.

A merchant never forgoes a profit in any situation. If not the best plan, then at least a secondary plan – that’s the merchant’s way of thinking.

Lee Shin Chung decided to maintain a relationship with Lee Gwak instead of recruiting him right away. As long as the string of fate didn’t break, they would naturally connect someday.

That was Lee Shin Chung’s secondary plan.

“I apologise, Leader Lee. I disturbed your mood with my unnecessary words.”

“No, I’m the one who should apologise.”

“Forget about joining the Myriad Merchant Troupe. Let’s just enjoy some drinks comfortably today. Hahaha!”

Lee Shin Chung burst into a jovial laugh.

“What’s so funny?”

Mo Yong Shin entered the room with a husky voice as he opened the door.

Lee Shin Chung smiled and responded.

“I was just enjoying the conversation with Leader Lee. How was your meeting?”

“I met him. It was exhausting to get away from his endless chatter.”

“Haha!”

Lee Shin Chung laughed heartily again. The owner of the Myriad Merchant Troupe, Eun Won Ho, was known to be as talkative as Mo Yong Shin.

One could imagine the kind of commotion that must have occurred when the two met.

Thump!

Mo Yong Shin placed a bottle of liquor he had been carrying on his waist on the table.

“Shall we start then?”

He grinned slyly.
***
The drinking session continued throughout the night.

Mo Yong Shin was a real heavy drinker. No matter how much he drank, there was no sign that he was drunk. Lee Shin Chung, on the other hand, was the one who ended up passed out, drunk.

“Tsk! He’s so weak with alcohol.”

Mo Yong Shin clicked his tongue as he looked at Lee Shin Chung, but his expression wasn’t one of dislike. Instead, he looked at the unconscious Lee Shin Chung with a loving gaze.

He personally carried Lee Shin Chung and laid him on the bed.

“Uhm!”

Lee Shin Chung tossed and turned but didn’t wake up. Mo Yong Shin covered him with a blanket before returning to the table where Lee Gwak was sitting.

“Are you alright?”

“I’m fine.”

“Indeed, befitting of a true man. Excellent!”

Mo Yong Shin gave Lee Gwak a thumbs up, which made Lee Gwak look awkward. He wondered how the conversation had come to this.

Mo Yong Shin filled his cup with liquor and drank it. The liquor ran down his beard, but he didn’t mind.

Thump!

He set down his cup and spoke.

“Actually, before coming here, I stopped by the forge. I heard about you from Gwang Ho.”

“……”

“Don’t be so guarded. Both Gwang Ho and I are not the types to gossip. Whatever we discussed won’t leave this room.”

Lee Gwak looked puzzled at Mo Yong Shin’s words, which prompted a laugh from Mo Yong Shin.

“I’m not particularly fond of the Jade Heaven Alliance. They are too greedy. But that doesn’t mean I would prematurely pluck a flower that has bloomed in their barren land.”

“Hmm!”

“I rather wish there were more young martial artists like you. The young warriors of martial artists have been overprotected, losing their wildness.”

Mo Yong Shin smirked bitterly.

This was especially true in the Myriad Merchant Troupe.

Because they received the best support, many believed they were superior from the start. Mo Yong Shin was particularly harsh on such people, which is why many feared him.

Mo Yong Shin looked at Lee Gwak with a pleased expression.

As the head of the Heavenly Escort Establishment, he had embarked on numerous missions, travelling across the Jianghu, meeting countless people and forging connections.

Among them were renowned prodigies of the Jianghu and owners of martial arts that could shake the world.

They were certainly impressive, but they were not up to Mo Yong Shin’s standards. They
might think of themselves as great, but to Mo Yong Shin, they were just naive and ignorant of the ways of the world.

Their strength came partly from their own efforts, but mostly from the power of their sects or families. In a sense, they hadn’t faced any real trials.

Their martial arts might be strong, but their spirits were immature. That’s why Mo Yong Shin didn’t rate them highly.

But Lee Gwak was different.

Although he didn’t know the exact level of Lee Gwak’s martial arts skills, the fact that he had received recognition from Eun Gwang Ho for his self-taught skills was enough to command respect.

The Eun Gwang Ho he knew was very stingy in assessing others.

“Young Hero!”

“Yes!”

“Aren’t you curious?”

“About what?”

“Your true potential.”

Lee Gwak blinked at Mo Yong Shin’s unexpected words, deepening the smile on Mo Yong Shin’s lips.

Lee Gwak asked.

“How can I know my true potential?”

“What better way for a martial artist to gauge their strength than through a spar?”

“Who would I compete with?”

“Isn’t it obvious? The person in front of you.”

“You?”

“Indeed! It’s me you’ll be competing with.”

Mo Yong Shin slammed the table vigorously. Lee Gwak felt his drunkenness fading.

“Are you serious?”

“Do I look like someone who would joke at my age? Answer me! Will you fight or just waste time drinking here?”

“I will compete.”

“Good decision. That’s how a man should be. Hahaha!”

Mo Yong Shin stood up, laughing heartily.

Any signs of drunkenness were gone from his face. Lee Gwak too had used his internal energy to sober up.

“Let’s go!”

“Yes!”

Lee Gwak followed Mo Yong Shin out to the training ground outside.

Though he wasn’t sure why Mo Yong Shin challenged him, Lee Gwak had no reason to refuse.

A martial spar with a master like Mo Yong Shin was a rare and excellent opportunity not to be missed.

Lee Gwak stood in the center of the training ground, facing Mo Yong Shin.

A flicker of admiration appeared in Mo Yong Shin’s eyes.

Merely standing there, Lee Gwak had an unshakeable solidity, like a deeply rooted rock. No young martial artist he had encountered before had given him this impression.

His stance might have been unrefined, but his unyielding spirit was palpably emanating from him.

Lee Gwak was still an unpolished gemstone.

The opportunity to refine an untouched gemstone, to help it find its true form and shine, was an exhilarating prospect for Mo Yong Shin.

“Come on!”

Mo Yong Shin gestured with his hands.

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